Students and alumni of the Savanna College of Art and Design (SCAD) are petitioning the school to remove Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas’s name from a campus building.
Created by SCAD alumna Sage Lucero, 22, the petition “Take a Sexual Predator’s Name Off of SCAD’s Building” has racked up more than 2,200 signatures as of Monday, and takes aim at the school’s Clarence Thomas Center for Historic Preservation.
The building, Lucero told PJ Media, “should be renamed after Anita Hill instead.” In a Sunday interview, Lucero said she started the petition after watching Christine Blasey Ford testify against Brett Kavanaugh.
“The incident became one person’s word against another’s,” wrote Lucero. “The same situation is happening before our eyes with Dr. Ford and Brett Kavanaugh. When will we learn that a victim’s trauma should outweigh politics?”
Since publishing the petition on October 1st, Lucero said she’s seen an outpouring of support from students and concerned alumni.
“When I first put the petition out, I didn’t realize how many students were already outraged over this. It’s something SCAD needs to notice. It sends the wrong message out to their students. It says: you’re not welcome here,” Lucero told PJ Media.
“It’s definitely offensive to women that go to our school,” said Lucero.
“To be a young women trying to pursue your dreams, and having to walk through the doors of a building with his name on it, it goes against everything SCAD stands for. This isn’t political, this is about women’s rights,” she added.
Since publishing the petition, numerous local news crews have dropped by SCAD’s campus to ask students what they think of the petition. PJ Media spoke with a few supporters of the petition, but all feared retaliation from SCAD for speaking to the media.
To be fair, SCAD is a private college that has no public promise of free speech to students.
Spokesmen did not respond to multiple inquiries asking if students can be punished for speaking to media, and FIRE, a free-speech nonprofit, couldn’t ascertain the school’s stance on free speech as of press time.
Going forward, it’s unclear if SCAD will heed students’ concerns.
The school has not responded to multiple media requests on the issue, and the school’s webpage for the building has remained unchanged.
Built in 1908, the building initially was a church before SCAD purchased the property, and Clarence Thomas served as an altar boy for the building during childhood. He was invited back to Savanna in 2010 when the building was re-dedicated, and no students threw a fuss.
Even if SCAD doesn’t change the building’s name, Lucero told PJ Media that she hopes the petition opens up a conversation.
“Women should have the right to feel safe on campus,” she said. “It should be something everyone wants. And that’s what I stand for.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen.